I wasn’t expecting to eat Fava Crostini with Almond & Mint today. It seems a bit early for these goodly green goddesses to make their appearance. But, nope. Yesterday at the Hollywood Farmers Market there they were just smiling at me with that toothy green grin of theirs.
The good thing about the early season fava beans is most of the pods are still quite young so you know they hold dainty little favas. Sure the littler they are, the more work they can be. But the little ones just taste better. The starches have not developed and they are a burst of bright green fava-i-ness that just makes me want to giggle!
Still, fava beans have a serious side too. What you have heard is true, there’s no getting around it. Fava beans are a lot of work. I’ll say it again; fava beans are a lot of work. However, if ever there were a more rewarding kitchen task I can’t think of it right now. Because I have fava on the brain, so I love every fava-ful step along the way.
- I love choosing each pod by hand. I look for firm, well-shaped pods. They should be cool and dry to the touch, but still look green, crisp and fresh.
- I love carrying them home. Like a special little secret!
- I love just knowing I have them. If you do not plan to use them right away though, store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- I love prepping them too. I really do… because it’s fun. When you are ready to get down to it, get yourself a couple of bowls. Working over the first bowl slit the pods down the front seam. You may use a paring knife (I do) if you like. As long as you are careful not to slice into the beans, a knife makes the process go quicker. However, the pods open easily even with out a knife.
- I love seeing the cute little legumes tucked inside the pillowy white cushion that lines the interior of the pod. Simply run your finger underneath the beans.
- I love watching them pop into the bowl. Use the second bowl to dispose of the pods as you work.
You really need to shell a lot of beans to get enough for most recipes. I use the metric of 2 pounds of fava beans in their pods per cup of shelled beans. Which, as I said, makes for a lot of work. But if you slip into the zone and whistle while you work you’ll have a bowl of spring-green bounty before you know it. GREG
- 1 small baguette, cut diagonally into 12 (1/3-inch-thick) slices
- 0.25 c olive oil, for brushing and for the favas as needed
- 2 c fresh fava beans shelled (about 4 pounds unshelled)
- 1 T coarse sea salt, such as Maldon divided for toasts and as seasoning
- 0.25 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 0.5 c whole almonds (about 3 ounces)
- 2 oz Parmesan cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly brush each bread slice on both sides with olive oil; sprinkle with salt. Place on a baking sheet; toast until lightly golden, about 8 minutes Remove from oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool May be stored in an airtight container up to one day.
While the oven is still hot, spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven until golden brown and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely. Chop very coarsely; set aside.
Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add fava beans, and cook 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to ice-water bath to stop the cooking. Squeeze beans from skins (you should have about 2 cups).
Whisk remaining 1/4 cup (or so) olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Add almonds, shelled beans, Parmesan, and mint; toss to combine. Can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 day.
When ready to serve scoop some of the fava mixture onto the toasts. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living